Richard Holzer, 27, was a white supremacist filled with hatred who plotted a bomb attack on a historic synagogue in Colorado. For years, he was posting racist and anti-Semitic on social media and known for associating with well-known extremists.
He was arrested after telling undercover FBI agents he was purchasing “inert explosive devices that had been fabricated by the FBI, including two pipe bombs and 14 sticks of dynamite.” The charges brought against him were attempting to blow up the Temple Emanuel synagogue, which is on the National Register of Historic Places in Pueblo, Colorado.
FBI’s Denver special agent, Dean Phillips, told reporters Monday, “Holzer first came onto the FBI’s radar in late September thanks to a tip alerting it to online comments indicating a possible threat to the community. The ADL’s Center on Extremism says it has been tracking Holzer’s activities since 2016 and has shared information with law enforcement on several occasions (unrelated with this case), citing concerns he might be dangerous.
Last week Holzer’s extremism mostly took the form of online posts and participation in white supremacist events. His major act of anti-Semitism consisted of urinating on a synagogue in Thousand Oaks, California, which he allegedly videotaped and posted to Facebook.
On ADL’s website, a report was posted Tuesday, which read, “He frequently posted online about killing his enemies.” Videos were shown on Facebook of Holzer, “wearing black military-style fatigues adorned with a mixture of Klan and neo-Nazi pins and patches. Some post went as far back as June of 2017, where he was seen in the “March Against Sharia” rally.
Holzer was walking alongside neo-Nazi group members, known as the Traditionalist Worker Party. One of the published photos contains Holzer carrying the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement flag with a caption that read, “age 17 and NSM prospect.”
Another photo was shown with him standing with Jacob Laskey, who was a notorious white supremacist who did time for 11 years in the slammer for thrusting stones which had swastikas engraved in them into a synagogue in Eugene, Oregon. Laskey busted the windows in 2002 while religious services were being held.
An ADL spokesperson stated, “Holzer constantly changed his username on his Facebook account, using a variety of different aliases including Rikard Buschmaan and other variations on his real name, such as Rickard Holzer, RH Wotanson, Rikardo Elk-Spirit, and Rik Holzer. Though none of those names currently appear to be affiliated with an active Facebook account, our law enforcement contacts did confirm his identity.”
FBI Special Agent John Smith wrote in the affidavit, “Richard Holzer used several Facebook accounts to promote white supremacist ideology and acts of violence, including racially-motivated acts of violence, indirect messages and group chats with other like-minded individuals.” The FBI said one of Holzer’s recent messages posted to Facebook on September 3, 2019, read, “I wish the Holocaust really did happen. They really need to die.”
On September 28, 2019, undercover FBI agents were able to contact Holzer under one of his accounts and reach out to him. The undercover FBI agent posed as a white supremacist female pretending to be sympathetic to Holzer’s views.
The affidavit continued to read, “Holzer described himself as a skinhead in Facebook messages to the covert FBI employee and proceeded to send several photos of himself wearing clothing with white nationalist and Nazi symbols and carrying various weapons, including firearms, a machete, and a knife. He also sent a video of himself urinating on the front door of what appears to be a Jewish center.”
Still, further into the affidavit, it read, “Holzer told the covert FBI employee on Oct. 3 that he was getting ready for RAHOWA, meaning a racial holy war, and subsequently began sending videos and audio recordings from outside Temple Emanuel, where he intended to poison the water with arsenic on Oct. 31. Holzer brought various white supremacy paraphernalia as gifts” for undercover FBI agents at an Oct. 17 meeting in Colorado Springs, during which he repeatedly expressed his hatred of the Jewish people and brainstormed other methods of attacking the synagogue, other than poisoning with arsenic, to make them know they’re not wanted here. Eventually, they discussed the idea of using pipe bombs, which they undercover agents offered to supply.”
Holzer admitted to the FBI he was going to blow up the synagogue at night because his intentions were not to hurt anyone. Still, he added he would have followed through “because anyone inside would be Jewish.”